It’s Too Darn Hot

Hey Michigan!  Guess what?  It’s hot outside!  Extreme weather can be a nuisance, and sometimes a major problem.  In some circumstances, it can even impact your work situation.  What rights, if any, do you have as an employee when it comes to extreme heat?

First and foremost, employees generally have a right to safe work conditions.  While there are some limitations to what an employer can reasonably be expected to do, especially for any work situation that involves working outside, you have a right to be safe at work.  If you believe your work environment is unsafe, you can contact the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

When it comes to non-work inconveniences that relate to extreme weather, employers generally do not have to do much to accommodate employees.  Employers do not have to allow employees to miss work to deal with things like power outages, broken air conditioners, and other damage that can be caused by heat.

However, under the new Michigan sick leave law, certain employees are entitled to a certain amount of paid time off for medical issues.  Extreme heat can certainly cause medical issues that could require an employee to need paid medical leave under the new law.  Additionally, if an employee is eligible for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, it is also possible that extreme heat could cause a health condition serious enough to require leave under that law as well, although that leave would not necessarily have to be paid leave.  Finally, if an employee is considered to be “disabled” under federal or Michigan law, extreme weather could lead to a disability-related need for time off of work, which may be considered a reasonable accommodation depending on the circumstances.

Be safe and protect yourself in extreme weather, and know your rights as an employee so you can protect those as well.  If you have any questions, please contact us.